The Dominance of Mobile Broadband Technologies within the Next Decade

I Just finished reviewing a not surprising report from WiseHarbor Research on the dominance of mobile broadband, including LTE, HSPA, WiMax and CDMA2000 1x EV-DO technologies during the next ten years.

According to the report, mobile broadband technologies will bridge the digital divide through the current decade for Internet and data communications by 2020 and will follow the lead that GSM and CDMA2000 1x achieved in the voice and text space.

WiseHarbor noted that LTE will mirror the success of GSM technologies, but that it won’t be until 2016 before LTE accounts for more than 25% of mobile broadband device sales, and that it won’t match device sales from CDMA-based technologies and HSPA/HSPA+ technologies combined until 2019.

The Asia Pacific region is expected to lead the world in mobile broadband and LTE device sales beginning next year, according to the report, which added that developed nations will lead in devices sold per capita. Device revenues from handsets, wireless modems and embedded modules is expected to peak in 2015 before being hit by falling selling prices and saturated demand. Revenue growth will then come from non-traditional devices that will see an increase in connectivity options.

WiseHarbor also noted that the growth of the TD-LTE standard will result in the demise of WiMAX beginning in the second half of the decade.

The report further explains whereas WiMAX has made significant commercial progress by occupying the unpaired spectrum that tends to be much cheaper than the paired spectrum used for CDMA-based technologies including EV-DO and HSPA, TD-LTE will eclipse WiMAX by prevailing in the use of unpaired spectrum as well as the paired spectrum already employed commercially by LTE  . Commitment to TD-LTE by China Mobile in particular and significant commonalities between LTE technologies and manufactured products with TDD and FDD modes will marginalize WiMAX in the marketplace over the next few years.

Given Clearwire just rolled out their 4G network using WiMax technology in DC region, I wonder what they have to say about this.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @

7 Responses to The Dominance of Mobile Broadband Technologies within the Next Decade

  1. I don’t know about the details of the report but I think WiMAX will have not success in markets where the 3G already well developed. On the opposite side we will see a good ROI in underserved markets where the thechnology is gaining its momentum quite timely. I will agree that the story of TD-LTE will require some time and the success will depend a lot from future reuse of existing TDD or technology neutral spectrum and swithing from WIMAX to LTE.

    • Elias Shams says:

      I kind of agree. But why do you think the folks behind WiMax not getting it and continue pouring billions $$$ in it?

      • I think that first of all they can not switch right know as they have to deploy something. It’s just a question of time. The marketing machnine of 3GPP community and pratical implementation of technology are different things. Hope you understand what I mean. We will not see LTE device and wide scale deployment within nearest time. We know about it very well if we turn to history of WiMAX development. Due to this fact I predict there will be even some gap in investments into 4G networks and more focus on 3G improvement as operators need to get capacity right now, not two or more years later. You can not get ROI from WiMAX in developed markets but you can not to commercialize LTE right know. That’s the very simple answer to my mind.The final success of the story depends a lot from spectrum available in the pockets of such operators.

  2. Juan Macias says:

    Interesting article, the marketing fore thought may be correct for China but markets in Europe and the Americas will move forth with WiMax and LTE.

    The dominance of mobile broadband is having an impact on networks, take AT&T and the issues that it has with the iPhone. It’s fantastic to have the sales but supporting the traffic is proving to be a challenge on current 3GPP R4/R6 technology. The latest move of increasing price on unlimited data may be a marketing mistake as Sprint and Clearwire are getting ready to launch WiMax which is more adaptive to handling data.

    Which technology do you believe will have dominance over the next decade?

  3. Elias Shams says:

    I personally think it is too early to predict that at this point. Not to mention a new technology might pop out in a year or so with the potential to make the ones in this article obsolete. So, too early to predict the dominant one in 10 years

  4. “WiseHarbor also noted that the growth of the TD-LTE standard will result in the demise of WiMAX beginning in the second half of the decade.”

    I would disagree with this. Most WiMAX accounts (as in networks) are for fixed/portable wireless regardless of the version of WiMAX that is deployed (E or D). That market is not going away, though it will not be anywhere near as large as that for mobile networks. There are a lot of places where basic telephony and broadband remain scare and WiMAX might be the better choice for this compared to LTE/HSPA+.

    You could argue WiMAX will stop gaining contracts for mobile networks from existing major mobile carriers but I’d argue that market has yet to materialize outside of one major mobile carrier (sprint/clearwire).

  5. Elias Shams says:

    I also think the market for WiMax will be totally different in developed and underdeveloped regions.

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